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This entry was published on 2019-12-27
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SECTION 227-C
Termination of residential lease by victims of domestic violence
Real Property (RPP) CHAPTER 50, ARTICLE 7
§ 227-c. Termination of residential lease by victims of domestic
violence. 1. Lease or rental agreement. In any lease or rental agreement
covering premises occupied for dwelling purposes, where a tenant or a
member of the tenant's household is a victim of domestic violence as
defined by section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law
and reasonably fears remaining in the leasehold premises because of
potential further domestic violence, such tenant shall be permitted to
terminate such lease or rental agreement and quit and surrender
possession of the leasehold premises and the land so leased or occupied
pursuant to the provisions of this section and to be released from any
liability to pay to the lessor or owner, rent or other payments in lieu
of rent for the time subsequent to the date of termination of such lease
in accordance with subdivision two of this section.

2. Lease termination procedure. (a) A tenant who meets the
requirements in subdivision one of this section may terminate the
tenant's lease by notice in writing delivered to the lessor or owner of
the premises occupied by such person, or to the lessor's or owner's
agent, and to any co-tenants of such lessee or tenant other than the
perpetrator of domestic violence. The notice shall specify the
termination date which shall be no earlier than thirty days after such
notice is delivered. If the notice is mailed via first class mail, it
shall be deemed delivered five days after mailing. If the tenant asserts
that the lessor or owner is the perpetrator of domestic violence, a
person authorized by the tenant may deliver such notice on the tenant's
behalf.

(b) Such notice shall state that the tenant or a member of the
tenant's household has experienced domestic violence and reasonably
believes the tenant, or the member of the tenant's household, is unable
to safely remain in the leased premises as a result of the domestic
violence.

(c) Within twenty-five days of such notice, the tenant shall provide
documentation demonstrating that the tenant or a member of the tenant's
household has been a victim of domestic violence as described in
subdivision one of this section. This documentation may include any one
or more of the following:

(i) A temporary or final order of protection issued by a court of
competent jurisdiction;

(ii) A record, complaint, or report from a federal, state, or local
law enforcement agency of an act of domestic violence as described in
section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law or a family
offense as described in section eight hundred twelve of the family court
act, or certifying that the tenant or a member of the tenant's household
has been subjected to domestic violence;

(iii) A record from a health care provider for treatment related to
domestic violence as described in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of
the social services law or a family offense as described in section
eight hundred twelve of the family court act;

(iv) A written verification from any other qualified third party to
whom the tenant, or a member of the tenant's household reported the
domestic violence.

(A) "Qualified third party" shall include: any law enforcement
officer; employee of a court of the state; attorney, physician,
psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, registered nurse, therapist,
or clinical professional counselor licensed to practice in any state;
person employed by a government or non-profit agency or service that
advises or provides services to persons regarding domestic violence; or
any member of the clergy of a church or religious society or
denomination.

(B) Written verification as described herein shall be satisfied by any
sworn or notarized statement including the required information.

(d) The following sample forms shall satisfy the notice and
verification requirements but are not required. These sample forms shall
be posted to the New York state unified court system's website, and
shall be made available in the state's family, civil, housing, criminal,
and supreme courts:
Part I. Tenant/Legal Occupant Statement
I, (insert name of tenant), state as follows:
(Choose the next part (A, B, or C) that most accurately describes your
situation)
(A) I have been subject to domestic violence. Date(s) of recent
incident(s) happened on or about:
(B) A member of my household has been subject to domestic violence.
Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
(C) Both I and at least one member of my household have been subject to
domestic violence. Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
The person I have asserted has perpetrated domestic violence is my
co-tenant, and I cannot safely give notice of my termination to my
co-tenant. (YES/NO)
I reasonably fear that I cannot safely remain in my current apartment. I
hereby terminate my lease effective (date at least thirty days after
this notice is delivered).
_______________________ ___________
(signature of tenant) (date)

Acknowledgement
State of _____________________)

)ss.:
County of ____________________)
On the ______ day of __________ in the year _____, before me, the
undersigned notary public, personally appeared _______________________,
personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to
the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their
signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
_________________________
Notary Public
Part II. Qualified Third Party Statement
I, (insert name of qualified third party), state as follows:
My employer name/address/phone number/e-mail address are as follows:
I am:
____ A law enforcement officer employed by the (insert law enforcement

agency).
____ An employee of __________________________ court located in the

state of _______________.
____ An attorney licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A physician licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A psychiatrist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A psychologist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A social worker licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A nurse licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
____ A therapist or clinical professional counselor licensed to practice

in (insert name of state(s));
____ Employed by a government or non-profit agency or service that

advises persons regarding domestic violence or refers them to

persons or agencies for services or advice.
____ A member of the clergy of a church or religious society or

denomination.
____ Other (describe):_________________________________________________
The person who signed the Tenant/Legal Occupant Statement above has
stated to me that he/she/they, or a member of his/her/their household,
has been subject to domestic violence.
This person further stated to me the incident(s) occurred on or about
the date(s) stated above.
I understand that the person who signed the Tenant/Legal Occupant
Statement may use this document as a basis for terminating a lease with
the person's lessor.
__________________________________________
(name of qualified third party)
__________________________________________
(signature of qualified third party)
______________
(date)

Acknowledgement
State of ______________________)

)ss.:
County of _____________________)
On the _______ day of ___________ in the year _____, before me, the
undersigned notary public, personally appeared
_________________________, personally known to me or proved to me on the
basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is
(are) subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that
he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that
by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or
the person upon behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the
instrument.
____________________________________________
Notary Public
Part III. Statement of Interpretation/Translation
I am bilingual in English and ____________ and have translated or
interpreted this document to the best of my ability for the signer
above.
_________________________________________
(name of interpreter/translator)
_________________________________________
(signature of interpreter/translator)
___________________
(date)

Acknowledgement
State of ______________________)

)ss.:
County of _____________________)
On the _______ day of ___________ in the year _____, before me, the
undersigned notary public, personally appeared ________________,
personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to
the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their
signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
____________________________________________
Notary Public

3. Treatment of rent. (a) The tenant terminating the lease shall pay
rent, pro-rata, up to the lease termination date pursuant to this
section.

(b) The tenant terminating the lease shall be entitled to a refund for
any prepaid rent or other payments covering the period after the
effective date of the lease termination, as long as the tenant has
vacated the premises. Such refund shall be provided within ten days of
delivery of the written notice as outlined in subdivision two of this
section.

(c) A tenant who meets the requirements in subdivision one of this
section and submits proper notice pursuant to subdivision two of this
section shall have a defense in any action brought by a landlord against
such tenant to recover rent and/or damages for breach of lease and shall
not be liable for any rent after the effective termination date.

(d) The lessor or owner may withhold a security deposit in part or in
full to the extent allowed by the lease or statute, except for the early
termination granted by this section, and shall not withhold any part of
the security deposit due to the tenant's exercise of rights under this
section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to be a defense against
an action for rent for a period of time before the tenant vacated the
premises and gave notice as required in subdivision two of this section.

4. Co-tenants and other occupants. Upon termination:

(a) If the terminating tenant is the sole leaseholder, the premises
shall be delivered to the lessor or owner:

(i) free of all tenants and occupants, provided that the terminating
tenant shall not be responsible for ensuring that the abusive household
member is not present; and

(ii) in accordance with the terms of the lease relating to delivery of
the premises at the termination of the lease.

(b) If there are tenants on the lease other than the terminating
tenant:

(i) the landlord shall not, except upon consent of such additional
tenants, terminate or sever the co-tenancy. The landlord must provide
the remaining tenant at least thirty days from the termination date to
decide whether to consent to a termination or severance.

(ii) The remaining co-tenant or co-tenants hold the right to add an
additional occupant as defined by paragraph (b) of subdivision one of
section two hundred thirty-five-f of this article.

5. Confidentiality provisions. (a) Unless the terminating tenant
provides written authorization for the release of information or unless
required by law, court order, or statute, the information shall not be
released. Information that shall be kept confidential shall include
information obtained during the process of the tenant terminating his or
her lease in accordance with this section, such as: (i) the nature of
the termination, (ii) the status of the tenant or member of the tenant's
household as a victim of domestic violence, and (iii) any information
contained in documentation provided to demonstrate status as a victim of
domestic violence.

(b) Pursuant to this section, the landlord shall not divulge,
describe, or characterize the termination of the rental agreement as an
early termination by a current lessor to a prospective lessor or any
third party.

6. Violations. (a) Landlords who knowingly, or intentionally violate
any part of this section may be liable for liquidated damages, not to
exceed one thousand dollars, actual damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

(b) Any agreement by a lessee or tenant of premises occupied for
dwelling purposes waiving or modifying his or her rights as set forth in
this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.